After the Second World War, geopolitical theorist George Kennan developed the doctrine of containment, whereby every aggressive action taken by large communist states would be met with an equal and opposite reaction.
President Obama, who fancies himself to be something of a geopolitical thinker, too, is pushing his own new doctrine, which I suppose can be called self-containment: the withdrawal of American influence and power from around the world based on the assumption that the United States is in no way an exceptional nation, and that its historical self-identification as such is, on balance, a cause of international instability. Combine this extraordinary foreign-policy view with his attempts to turn the U.S. into a European-style socialist country, and to create a polity which rests on lax immigration restrictions and permanent interest group rivalry, and what you wind up with is a sort of Austro-Hungarian Empire - without the imperial trappings, but with all of the late regime’s abysmal weaknesses in the international sphere, including a fatal lack of military strength (plus, of course, the suffocating bureaucratic apparatus of a government intent on constantly meddling with the economy).
So America has gone from being a “shining city on a hill” to just another non-descript burg on the international equivalent of highway US 1. This is a vision that is not shared by a majority of our citizens, and I believe they will start showing their rejection of this philosophy in 2010.